21st Century sourcing: How workforce experts help healthcare providers solve clinician shortages

Over the past two years, a widening gap of unfilled jobs in healthcare has left providers scouring for quality clinical professionals to staff their facilities.

The supply-and-demand crisis threatens to worsen in years ahead: By 2024, healthcare will be the largest employer in the nation, with job openings totaling nearly 5.2 million, including more than 1 million nurses, 1 million technologists and technicians, 300,000 therapists and nearly 300,000 physicians and surgeons, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Healthcare systems are already struggling to fill their job openings today. In fact, the ratio of job openings to job hires is currently about 2:1, with nearly a half million open jobs going unfilled, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The result is a stiff competitive market for qualified professionals, sometimes referred to as a war for talent in the healthcare industry.

Methods for reaching, engaging and activating clinicians have changed dramatically in the last few years. Gone are the days of posting a job on one career site and getting more applicants than you needed. The current super-heated competitive environment for healthcare professionals demands the most up-to-date approach.

Connecting with Candidates

Fortunately, processes and technologies for sourcing healthcare professionals have advanced to match the growing complexity of the healthcare industry. For example, AMN Healthcare has created the largest clinical talent database and the largest digital communications footprint, reaching out to candidates via an extensive communications umbrella that includes social media, mobile career sites, pay per click recruitment advertising, job alert texts, one-to-one email marketing automation and a personalized website experience. Casting this wide digital net allows engagement with clinicians whenever they are online.

Leveraging demographic profiles to communicate with clinical candidates is important to engaging quality clinical professionals. Older and younger clinicians use different online resources to search for jobs and gain information about employers. Physicians, nurses and allied professionals have preferred methods of researching opportunities as well. So, today's sourcing experts must understand which digital channels are most and least effective for reaching candidates so that recruitment investments aren't wasted. Once identified and engaged, potential candidates can then be assessed to gauge their suitability and readiness for available positions.

This is the step where a similarity exists to past sourcing methods – personal contact. Recruiters make contact with the candidates for specific job openings. However, the difference is that recruiters in 21st century sourcing possess a huge amount of information about candidates prior to first contact that was never before available. Today's recruiters should know about the role, career potential, system leadership and culture. They also are responsible for developing and sharing the healthcare systems' employment brand. Often, they have already matched a candidate to a specific role based on how well their skills and experience fit a particular position.

Driving these processes are analytics tools that can determine critical factors, such as matching geographic job sites with the locations of candidates most inclined to take jobs in that market. Or, which digital channels are the most cost effective for reaching candidates with a particular skill. Analytics also can dictate sourcing strategies for customized client campaigns, measuring success or the lack of it, which might necessitate a change in recruitment strategy or tactics. In fact, analytics can be used to guide and improve nearly every step in the clinical candidate sourcing process.

Patient Care Comes First

Patient-care organizations are very busy today converting to value-based care, containing costs, and improving quality while also expanding healthcare settings to cover populations. These vital initiatives leave little time or resources available to keep up with the rapidly changing recruitment and workforce solutions marketplace. Staffing and workforce solutions experts can remove the complexity and stress of sourcing in this extremely competitive marketplace, so that hospitals, health systems and other healthcare services can focus on getting and keeping people healthy.

With nearly 1 million healthcare jobs posted right now, and the expectation that this number will increase, the processes and technology for finding and engaging the right candidates are evolving rapidly. Healthcare staffing providers remain solely focused on alleviating the complex burden of staffing from healthcare organizations, while simultaneously assisting clinical candidates in navigating the overwhelming job market to the benefit of both parties.

Ralph Henderson, President of Professional Services and Staffing for AMN Healthcare, is responsible for leading client services and the sales and financial performance of AMN staffing businesses that comprise nurse, allied, locum tenens, interim leadership and executive search.

Learn more:

Progressive Solutions for Filling Healthcare Jobs

Reducing the Nursing Shortage by Taking Residency & Fellowship Programs to the Next Level

How to Succeed in the War for Talent

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